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New approach need to fix health system


If there’s an issue that’s sure to stir up the public, it’s health care and the provincial Liberal government is treading on dangerous ground with the number of emergency room closures across Nova Scotia.

On Wednesday, the province released the latest Accountability Report on Emergency Departments and it’s not a pretty picture. The report shows that overall closures were up by 2.5 per cent, but there were 23 per cent fewer unscheduled closures as compared to the previous year.

On Wednesday, the province released the latest Accountability Report on Emergency Departments and it’s not a pretty picture. The report shows that overall closures were up by 2.5 per cent, but there were 23 per cent fewer unscheduled closures as compared to the previous year.

Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine said government is working to strengthen health care across Nova Scotia by creating collaborative teams that can address people’s health issues before they have to go to an emergency room.

We have seen in recent years how collaborative practices can work. In Springhill, Pugwash and Parrsboro, frequent ER closures were mitigated and. for the most part. eliminated by creating teams of nurse practitioners, doctors and paramedic-registered nurse teams that kept rural ERs staffed around the clock and ensured most patients could get same-day appointment in primary care clinics.

Why is it that just a year or two after these collaborative emergency centres were opened, we are once again seeing frequent closures? Instead of occurring overnight – as before – the closures are taking place during daytime hours because there simply aren’t enough physicians in some communities to adequately staff the ERs.

There is no magic wand that will solve health care woes in Nova Scotia. And this isn’t to offer some sage wisdom or advice that’s going to make it all better. Many of the problems we’re facing today aren’t new. A boom in the senior population and the unhealthy lifestyles of many Nova Scotians is only going to make it worse.

We shouldn't be surprised that our emergency rooms are under siege, but we shouldn’t stick our heads in the sand or throw our hands up in frustration. Instead, we need a government that’s going to come up with a new vision of that see Nova Scotians’ health concerns and needs are answered.

Throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer because there really isn’t any money to throw. We need to think outside the box and resist the urge to rally against change because it’s different than the status quo. Otherwise, we will continue to circle around to the same problems time and time again, wondering why it’s not getting any better.

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